D-Star. Is it worth is?

Discussion in 'Working Different Modes' started by W7ND, Feb 21, 2012.


Is D-Star upgradeability worth it?

  1. Yes, it is worth it

    17 vote(s)
  2. No, save your money

    40 vote(s)
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  1. W7ND

    W7ND Ham Member QRZ Page

    Really all we have is the 3 (well, now 2, one is down) VHF repeaters. One is linked to a small group of repeaters covering some of the smaller towns in NV, and the other is linked to only 1 other repeater in Pioche, NV. The UHF repeater doesn't exist anymore. We've looked at irlp/echolink, but only 1of the repeater sites would have the internet available there. That site that has internet is connected to a microwave link Verizon uses for cellular data. I've toyed with the idea of a low powered repeater/simplex link at my house for probably echolink (seems the easier of the two to set up), but space limitations have put a hold on that. Those micro nodes look cool but a bit out of my price range. If you're ever thru this way again most everybody hang out on .52 simplex or the 147.18 repeater. Probably wont catch me as Im always working but a few of the retired guys always have a radio on.
  2. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    EchoLink runs on Windows, IRLP runs on Linux, and last time I looked, the people who run IRLP did all of the installs themselves, remotely. I find that IRLP sounds better than EchoLink much of the time, which makes it better for repeater linking. If you can hardwire a computer interface directly to the repeater, and use the repeater's COR line to control the T/R functions, and also eliminate the repeater IDer from the Internet side of the equation, that is much better than setting up a remote transceiver. There are ways to make the remote work better, however. If you can have the repeater transmit a PL tone only when it's COR line is active, you can use that to eliminate the squelch tails. Eliminating the IDer might be harder, but is needed if you are going to link to other repeaters.
    As I mentioned, Allstar seems to be growing rapidly in Nevada, but I don't know anything about it. It's supposed to have great audio, though.

    The simplest idea is just a simplex setup for EchoLink or IRLP - no problems with squelch tails or repeater ID's.

    We have a UHF DSTAR machine side by side with an analog VHF repeater. The VHF repeater works quite well, but the DSTAR works much better, except for areas where 'picket fencing' happens. On DSTAR, that really sounds bad - 'R2D2', where it's merely annoying on analog signals. The UHF DSTAR penetrates buildings much better than the 2 meter analog, and I can easily work the 35 watt DSTAR repeater from distances where the 100 watt analog repeater is not usable. But, yes, when it quits working, it's done. I wish we could convert the VHF analog to DSTAR so we could compare 'apples to apples' VHF vs. UHF from the same location.
  3. K5PO

    K5PO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    To me, this is a serious concern. A couple other points will likely keep me from ever buying D-Star (unless they are rectified). These are references from the D-Star wikipedia page:

    "Proprietary codec
    D-STAR uses a patented, closed-source proprietary voice codec (AMBE). Hams do not have access to the detailed specification of this codec or the rights to implement it on their own without buying a licensed product. Hams have a long tradition of building, improving upon and experimenting with their own radio designs. The modern digital age equivalent of this would be designing and/or implementing codecs in software. Critics say the proprietary nature of AMBE and its availability only in hardware form (as ICs) discourages innovation. Even critics praise the openness of the rest of the D-STAR standard which can be implemented freely. An open-source replacement for the AMBE codec would resolve this issue.

    Trademarked name

    Despite many protestations from the Pro-D-Star lobby that the standard was developed by the JARL, and D-Star is not only an Icom system, the term 'D-Star' is itself a registered trademark of Icom."

    I will say, this is interesting and a benefit I've not heard before:

  4. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I doubt "penetration" has anything to do with the D-STAR mode and everything to do with the frequency being used.

    UHF often "penetrates buildings" better than VHF does; as far as I can, the main reason is whatever apertures buildings have provide a "wider window" for signals at higher frequencies. 440 MHz can work better than 146 MHz; 890 MHz can sometimes work better than either one.

    We have a local linked 70cm repeater system here in southern CA which has been around a long time, the PAPA System.

    It operates from 13 mountaintop sites and has very broad coverage. Six of those sites are equipped with both analog and D-STAR systems at the same site. I don't recall ever hearing any examples of D-STAR actually "penetrating" anything better than the analog systems.

  5. KF5FEI

    KF5FEI Ham Member QRZ Page

    One thing that troubles me is they can lock you out of the big database and your radio essentially becomes an overpriced analog rig at that point. Besides everything being proprietary. Doubtful Yaesu's deal will catch on -- but you never know. If I won a D-Star radio at a hamfest, I'd use it -- but I'm not gonna run out and buy one unless I hit the lottery and the local Bentley dealer is sold out for the year.
  6. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I agree. It's a bit of a solution in search of a problem.

    When cellular phones went all digital, we noticed the loss of fidelity but also noticed the greatly increased battery life of portable cell phones, so this was a great tradeoff.

    With ham radio, the tradeoff sucks.
  7. K7MH

    K7MH XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'd use it too...as fodder for eBay.
  8. N5PVL

    N5PVL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Another "amateur internet" operator.

    Hey, this is a ham radio forum by the way.
  9. KC2SIZ

    KC2SIZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not to mention the telephone.
  10. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I might be doing something wrong but when I call CQ on the telephone I never get any answers.
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